Great year, new year

Happy 2008! It’s great to be back in the office. And I’m looking forward to a very busy year.

We’ve compiled our BCA year-end orders for 2007, and as expected it was a record-breaker in many ways. With 1,413 net orders, we’ve exceeded the 1,000 mark for an industry-record three years in a row.


A British Airways order for 24 Dreamliners, finalized last week, included the 787th order for the 787. Total orders for the program since launch now stand at 817.

We saw new records, too, for the 737 and 787 Dreamliner programs, as well as for Boeing freighters. The Dreamliner, already the fastest-selling new airplane program in history, had 369 orders last year, setting an industry record for most sales in a single year for any widebody commercial airplane.

Of course, a sincere “thank you” is in order to all of our customers. From airlines to cargo carriers, leasing companies, and private customers, it’s their endorsement of Boeing’s products and services that have made it happen.

It was a great year, but no doubt, not without its challenges. And we’ve got a lot of hard work to accomplish this coming year.

In the meantime, check out our Orders and Deliveries page for the breakdown. And we’ll talk later about what it all means.

Comments (20)

G (France):

Beyond the numbers

You have much to say about the orders in 2007, we are waiting impatiently for your next blog entry.

We all observe that BCA's widebody product strategy has got airlines's endorsement. The proof is that there have been more than 800 787 ordered between 2004 and 2007. Also, the 777-300ER sales number in 2007 is very close to 100.

We will certainly see several 747-8i orders in 2008, simply because the 747-400 replacement cycle will start in 2010. Of course the smaller 777-300ER is a good replacement for most of those 747-400. However, the 747-8i will have a role in the replacement scheme.

In 2007, 747-8i's configuration was frozen. It means that BCA has just defined the upper limit of its widebody family. Clearly, in the coming fifteen years or more, BCA's widebody won't go beyond 470 seats. And more importantly with the 747-8i's config now frozen and the 787 entering into service, what will happen between 787 and 747-8i is anybody's guess.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

1413 orders is nothing to sneeze at and even with the
delays with the 787, this plane is selling hotter than hotcakes as there is a need to replace A300's and B767's that are over fifteen years old and the
787 is the only airliner that can replace them at
its size.

The Boeing 747-8/I looks great, and the interior of
the 747-8I looks spectacular. I like seeing all those
B787 type alterations applied to the new 747, I like
to see Emirates, United, Northwest, and other airlines order the new 747. The 747-8's engine nacelles and raked and raised wingtips will certainly improve the fuel economy of the aircraft and make the plane distinguishable from the - 400 series.

2008 looks to be a good year for Boeing as Jeju Air
of South Korea has ordered five B737-800's they are
a first time customer for Boeing.

My prediction's for this year I'm not a psychic,
is that the 787 will reach the 1,000 mark, 45 orders
will be made for the 777-300ER, the first flight of
the 787 will be flawless and make world wide headlines, and look for orders from Kuwait Airways,
SAS, and possibly Saudi Arabian as they are looking
to replace the MD-90, and Aeromexico as they look to
replace the MD-80, don't expect the 737 order list to slow down, these are only predictions.

I am glad to be back on this blog again here in 2008!

James (Honolulu, Hawaii):

Congratulations on the record-breaking year. Now, get the 787 airborne!

Chris C (South Africa) (South Africa):

Boeing no doubt will certainly have very exciting and rewarding times during 2008, as well as, of course, have times of true challenge. Boeing certainly is driven by meeting challenges that are hard, as that is one of the things that allows Boeing to continue push the envelope of aerodynamics and airplane design, and thus, always be leading the edge of aviation!

Your commitment to always forever new frontiers allows Boeing to continue to design the world’s greatest commercial airplanes. Sure, there may be many new hurdles in 2008 for the super-efficient 787 flight-testing/certification effort, but then again, there might not be too many either? But the bottom line is that Working Together; you will get the 787, the most demanded wide-body airplane of the 21st Century, into service with nothing but absolute satisfaction for Boeing and the customers. You guys have a better-than-expected performance airplane on the cards with the 787, that’s for sure.

It certainly is a disappointment that the 747-8I did not secure additional airline customers over the course of 2007! Sure, there were cases when you were so close. As Scott Carson rightly said, the phenomenal 747-8I is indeed an “incredibly good airplane that you continue to aggressively market”, so no doubt the orders will come this year. Airbus best be wary of the 747 this year, as the wounds it ‘inflicted’ last year in the battles against the A380 will be mild as to what the 747 will do this year! It is a fact that the 747-8I is far more fuel efficient than the A380 on their typical mission rules, period. The mathematics is there!!

Congratulations on a stupendous order year for 2007! All the best for the 787 pre-flight preparations!!

Todd Cohen (Philadelphia):

WOW! What a year for Boeing and aviation. I am very excited about your year and offer my congratulations to the entire company.

I am now waiting with extreme excitement to see the 787 take flight and demonstrate its excellence. What a thrill that will be for me and every aviation enthusiast. I am going out of my way to build up FF miles on the American airlines who have demonstrated confidence in Boeing and are going to fly the 787.

Congratulations again to the entire Boeing organization!

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

What a fantastic all round performance - albeit, with these current market conditions, something of a really good harvest.

On the 787 - enjoy ramping up production there, that sure is going to be tough initially. But an astonishing backlog - in fact, an astonishing backlog BCA-wide!

There's something to be said of the 737 Next-Generation's tally - which is astounding. How many times over has that program rewarded the investors? A true value-creating system.

Similarly - the 777's orders show just how much strain the 777-300ER is taking of late - where?

This further underscores proper derivative strategy execution - where the aim is to extract even more value from a given line. None of these programs could have possibly rewarded investors so richly if they had failed to improve on the respective predecessors.

It reminds me of why the 747-500X / -600X and -700X possibly could not have made it into the assembly halls of Everett. With its huge new wings - derived from the 777, these craft would still be using yesteryears' technology - making for far less efficient jets than would be possible with the technology available today.

The point is to make that derivative at the exact right time, when technologies, that become available - at acceptable cost, positively enhance a product.

For this reason alone, I eagerly await that derivative product which is still the fastest subsonic transport in the sky.

William Benton (Wichita, Kansas):

2007 was a great year for the Boeing Company. With Boeing winning the USAF Tanker contract and first flight of the 787, 2008 should be a banner year also.

Ed (Ireland):

Quoting Chris C:

'' It certainly is a disappointment that the 747-8I did not secure additional airline customers over the course of 2007! Sure, there were cases when you were so close. As Scott Carson rightly said, the phenomenal 747-8I is indeed an “incredibly good airplane that you continue to aggressively market”, so no doubt the orders will come this year. Airbus best be wary of the 747 this year, as the wounds it ‘inflicted’ last year in the battles against the A380 will be mild as to what the 747 will do this year! It is a fact that the 747-8I is far more fuel efficient than the A380 on their typical mission rules, period. The mathematics is there!! ''

Chris, I appreciate that you like the new 747-8I but it is not as good as you are making it out to be! Seriously, what makes you think that it will inflict wounds on the A380 this year? This is a small market segment and the A380 is the only attractive plane in it, according to the relevant airline CEOs. I also dont know where you are getting these 'facts' that the 747-8I is more fuel effieient. Lufthansa has said the opposite and they are the only customer for both aircraft to date.

Apart from that I agree that 2007 has been great for Boeing. Hopefully the 787 delays will be resolved this year, and Im looking forward to the 787-10. Im also very interested in the idea of an updated 777 to take on the Airbus A350 but I dont think there is much urgency to launch it this year.

G (France):

To Ed (Ireland) and Chris C (South Africa)

I believe the 747-8i and the A380 serve two different and distinct markets. The 747-8i has a capacity of 476 seats and the A380 has 550 seats, the capacity difference is so big that it is difficult to consider them both in the same market.

When Ed says that the market segment of both the 747-8i and the A380 is small, you can only admit it. The market segment of passenger airplane with capacities above 450 is indeed quite small. Maybe it is one the reasons why Boeing puts so much emphasis on the freighter version of the 747-8. The 747-8F is selling quite well and I believe the 747-8 program could be profitable simply by the sales of the freighter version.

Last year, BCA firmed 747-8i configuration with the same fuselage length as the cargo version. It is almost certain that this was done with cargo conversion in mind when a 747-8i will finish its career as passenger airplane.
The fact that the 747-8i will be able to prolongate its life as a freighter helps to keep its residual value at an acceptable level.

One interesting fact is that there is no scientific proof that a good freighter airplane cannot be a good passenger airplane.

Ted C (Mt. Vernon, WA):

My wish for 2008 is that Boeing launch one more version of the 777. Somewhere between the 209' 777-200LR and the 242' 777-300ER, maybe 227'. Why? because a shorter stretch could be lighter, yet give one more platform for the giant GE engines.

Chris C (South Africa):

To Ed (Ireland) and G (France),

There is no doubt whatsoever that the 747-8I and the A380-800 serve two distinctly different market segments (we all know this). Naturally, Boeing fully optimised the highly-efficient 747-8I to be the best solution in the 400seat to 500seat market, and although the 747-8I itself truly is a phenomenal machine, the market it is set to serve is “taking longer than originally anticipated to develop,” in the words of former program chief, Dan Mooney.

However, as rightly pointed out, the replacement cycle market for the 747-400 will begin to flourish next year, with the first ‘ageless’ -400s reaching their 20-years of age, and thus this is thought to be the best year for airlines to start ordering the -8I; the true 744 replacement airplane. The proof that the ultra-large airplane market, 400-seats and above, is really a small niche market, is clear in the sluggish sales of both the 747-8I and the A380.

Considering the A380 has been on offer for around 7 years, a considerable amount of time longer than the new 747 offering, if market demand were in line with Airbus forecasts, the A380 would have had significantly more orders than at present, despite the delays, as airlines would be keen to get on-board, no matter what delay. Boeing on the other hand forecasts about 295 orders for the -8I over 20 years, and surprisingly, the current order book reflects this trend, since 6th December 2006.

The 747-8I, operating under Boeing ruled tri-class arrangement, will be more fuel efficient by 10,3% than the A380-800 operating under Airbus ruled tri-class arrangement. My facts come from mathematics. Yes, in Lufthansa’s configuration the 747-8I will burn, I think 3,5lts/pax/100km, compared to what Boeing displays as 2,6lts/pax/100km.

Lastly, I think you Ed misunderstood what I was meaning about “wound inflicting”. Even Carson mentioned ‘aggressive marketing’, which I colourfully put as even more intense ‘battles’ in the boardrooms to secure follow on -8I orders, so Airbus will have their work cut to try and counter the even more determined 747-8 sales teams.
The A380 is a great airplane and a true technological achievement. I have never disputed that. But, the 747-8 will be the pinnacle of airborne excellence, period.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

I am in agreement with the positive sentiments on the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental and the 747-8 programme in general. So I'll fire one more salvo at current arguements raging here and at many other sites.

Let's take sales of the 737 up until the end of 2006. Combined the sales of Classics (-300, -400 & -500) & the Next Generation (-600, -700, -800, -900) exceed those of the Airbus A320 Family by a considerable margin. Now, although the A320 is quite an impressive design itself, those figures do make-up for the late arrival of the 737 Next-Gen Family.

Similarly, the sales of the 747-400/-400ER and 747-8 combined exceed those of the A380 - since the A380's market launch in 2000 through December 31st, 2006. Now, while that was mainly due to the superior performance of the Boeing freighter, it is quite telling of the market size in this seating/size category when the Boeing 747 outsells "the all-new 21st Century flagship" on those freighters. If there are serious problems concerning the immediate future of the 747, nobody knows. The 747 is better in the 400-500 seat market simply because it was designed for that market and is lighter as a result.

I like these arguments as much as I enjoyed those concerning Boeing's "over-dependence" on twinjets back in 2003/4. With its wingroot insertion, the A340-600 should also have had some kind of advantage over the 777-300ER - besides added weight - wait a minute...

Combined sales of the 777/787 versus the A330/A340/A350 at the end of 2006 - now that really makes up for what some would say is the very late arrival of the 787 against the A330.

All this, of course, means that Boeing still leads on the twin-aisle backlogs - having conceded the single-aisle backlog some time ago.

All arguments between the A380 & B747-8 purely of technical issues are purely academic until the 747-8 flies and until it gets on a scale - but also at such a point when a more sizeable number of airlines actually begin operating the A380. These arguments are also quite boring.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Even though the 747 passenger model post 400 has
not sold (747X, X Stretch, Y, 500X, 600X, 700X,
QXLR-800, and the 1.7 million pound 747*)the 747-8
has made it past the concept stage and received
orders, it is mostly the cargo version, and for
the 8-Intercontinental, only Lufthansa has picked
up orders and is looks doubtful at this point that Emirates or Virgin Atlantic will order the 8-I,
on this tangent it may be a good idea to keep the
747 cargo line open but as for the passenger 747,
her time might be running out and facing it's sunset. I think this is where the Yellowstone 3 project comes in.
*= (Guy Norris and Mark Wagner, Boeing 747 Design
and Developement since 1969, Motorbooks International 1997, page 118)

If Boeing proceeds with the Y3 the plane may not
enter service until about the later half of the
next decade, by this time the demand for the 400,
500 three class airliner will have increased as the air market in Asia and the Middle East will have increased substantially and European and North American jumbos get older. My ideal concept for the
Y3 is that it uses two engines with thrust rating
going from 125,000 lbs to 140,000 lbs of thrust each and a diameter of 144 inches at the fan. The landing
gear will consist of eighteen wheels, two eight wheel bogies and double nose wheel. The shape of the
fuselage will resemble the 787 but a width of 168 inches making this the widest twin jet ever even wider than the 747 with passengers seating comfortably at the standard ten abreast format. The
range of all models are from 8,500 to 9,300 miles.
The Y3-7X will have a span of 230 feet a length of 232 feet and a MTOW of 795,000 lbs, the Y3-8X will have a span of 242 feet a length of 254 feet and a MTOW of 880,000 lbs, the Y3-9X will have a span of
256 feet a length of 278 feet and a MTOW of 975,000 lbs, the height of all planes will be 62 feet tall.
My description of the Y3 is fantasy and not any plan
from Boeing, though I hope that any manifestation of
the Y3 falls of this format because Boeing is ahead of the game when it comes to jumbo twin jets.

I also envision the Boeing 787 in a stretched 11X and 12X, at the proposed 10X model is 68 metres, I envision the 11X as 74 metres and the 12X as 80 metres both with a strengthen fuselage and extended wing span's and broadened wing cords, a good replacement for the 777-300 basic model and competitor to the A350-900.

I slight reduction in length in the 777-300ER as
a third length version of the airframe sounds
like a great idea as Ted C. has indicated.

I still like to see a B737-400ER offered this could be a good on routes that cannot serve a full 737-800
but needs more capacity than a 737-700, good for airlines like Southwest, Continental, Ryanair, Lionair, Alaska, Korean Air, Spice Jet, Jet Airways,
and Aloha. This plane would be a 737-400 airframe
with the wings of the third generation 737 with blended winglets.

G (France):

To Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA)

All arguments between the A380 & B747-8 purely of technical issues are purely academic until the 747-8 flies and until it gets on a scale - but also at such a point when a more sizeable number of airlines actually begin operating the A380.

It is even worse than "purely academic", it is simply irrelevant. They are two different airplanes for two different markets.

Ed (Ireland):

Guys the A380 and the 747-8i are not in completely different markets. Airbus states the A380 as a 525 seater. Boeing states the 747 as a 474 seater.

The airlines (BA, SQ, NW, UA, ANA, IB, AI, CA, CX, etc) are evaluating both aircraft head to head, hence they are competing for the same orders.

G (France):

to Ed (Ireland)

Did you check the floor space difference?
If the A380's capacity is stated at 525, then 747-8i's would be around 430.
Both airplanes have a similar max range. So the only differentiating feature is the capacity, one has 525 seats and the other around 430 seats. The difference is about 20%.

Either you need A380's capacity, or you don't.
There is no point comparing the A380-800 against the 747-8i.

Ed (Ireland):

G (France):

''There is no point comparing the A380-800 against the 747-8i.''

Tell that to the airlines that I mentioned!

Also note that Boeing specifically refers to comparisons against the A380 on its 747-8 website page.

Ed (Ireland):

I forgot to mention that the 747 has way more revenue cargo capacity than the A380. The 747 has 40 LDs containers Vs 38 on the A380. Which basically means that the new 747 has considerably more revenue cargo capacity than the A380.

Chris C (South Africa):

To Ed (Dublin, Ireland):

Your comments certainly are thought provoking as you are right in the sense that the phenomenal Boeing 747-8I and the Airbus A380 are constantly pitched against each other in virtually every aviation journal out there, as well as even on Boeing’s own website, as you rightly pointed out. The fact remains that Boeing have designed the 747-8I to be the most optimal and super-efficient airplane in the 400seat to 500seat market, whilst the A380 ideally caters for any airline wanting true high density airplanes that serve limited, yet important, niche hub to hub routes.

As I said in an earlier comment to this Blog, “we all know this”. Boeing have made it clear that should an airline wish to have the A380’s capacity in seating, then the A380 is the airplane for them. But, where the 747-8I comes into play as a competitor is to offer the airlines a true 747-400 replacement airplane, as I’ve said before, with a much lower risk approach than the A380, in terms of filling the airplane. Even British Airways acknowledged the fact that the A380 is a much higher risk airplane for them to introduce than the 747-8I.

From an observer’s point-of-view, it would seem that many airlines are evaluating the two great airplanes, the 747-8I and the A380s, as alternatives to their large airplane requirements. Would they best be served with the 747-8I, offering more freight capacity and lower operating costs and fuel burns than the A380, or would they best be served with a 500 plus seat A380, offering greater flexability for higher passenger loads, all whilst still having very compelling economics?

With all this said, and as attested many times by top Lufthansa management and by Boeing themselves, the 747-8I and A380 in fact compliment each other, and in many cases it will not be a matter of one or the other, but a matter of having both!


John K (Eugene, Oregon):

Maybe many posters are too polite to mention the ‘rivalry’ between Boeing and Airbus and other American and European businesses. I often read the official news outlet of the European Union, the EU Observer. The EU Observer gives the official thinking of the 27 members of the EU.

If anyone in the US thinks the EU is not involved in a form of ‘economic and cultural war’ with the US, please read this publication for a few weeks. They wish the US to buy all EU products and at the same time, they wish the EU to buy very few US products.

They have given much coverage to the European computer companies who sued Microsoft. The EU Observer has given much space to any Airbus successes. When the A380 was announced, they showed then French President Chirac and dozens of EU leaders having Champaign toasts and gloating. The general impression was Boeing was soon to be in trouble.

Randy, do you know how many EU member airlines fly Boeing planes? Other than British Airlines and a few other airlines flying 747-400s, I don’t know of many Boeing planes flying from Europe. Maybe I’m wrong.

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